New edition of beef mentorship program underway

Program key to boosting research impact at a farm level, says beef research council

New edition of beef mentorship program underway
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It’s an all-Alberta lineup in the latest edition of the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program.

Four researchers working in the province have been paired with eight mentors from the province’s beef sector in the Beef Cattle Research Council program.

But it’s not geography, but rather upping the research benefits for all Canadian producers that matters, said Ryan Beierbach, a Saskatchewan producer and the council’s past chair.

“(We) try to match them up with somebody in the industry who’s aligned with what they want to do research in,” Beierbach says in a video accompanying the announcement of this year’s mentees and mentors.

“And then they can get out to a farm or a ranch and see how it’s done. And when they come along with a project, they can bounce it off somebody and say, ‘Is this something that will help your operation?’

Ryan Beierbach. photo: Supplied

“When producers can explain to a researcher what’s going to help their operation, you get a lot better project.”

Researchers have had a major impact on the Canadian beef sector but there’s been a number of retirements and it’s important to link up with newcomers, added executive director Andrea Brocklebank.

“They have amazing technical skills but ensuring those technical skills work within our sector is something we recognize wasn’t always happening with the speed we needed,” she says.

Two of the researchers work at Ag Canada’s Lethbridge research station.

Hari Prasad Poudel is a forage-breeding research scientist, and an expert in genome-based selection and in enhancing winter survival. He’s been paired with Doug Wray and Graeme Finn, two ranchers well known for their experience in areas such as rotational and winter grazing, as well as high legume pastures and annual cover crop grazing.

Stephanie Terry’s work at the Lethbridge station includes mitigating ruminant greenhouse gas production and enhance production efficiency. She is paired with Christine Rosser (a Saskatchewan native who is now a ruminant nutritionist at the Coaldale Veterinary Clinic) and Ryan Kasko (general manager of his family’s cattle feeding and farming business located near Lethbridge and past chair of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association).

The other researchers are relatively new faculty members.

Gleise Medeiros da Silva is a beef nutritionist who is an assistant professor and BCRC Hays Chair in Beef Production Systems at U of Alberta. She is paired with two Alberta Beef Producers directors: mixed producer Fred Lozeman from Claresholm and Darren Bevans, general manager of Deseret Ranches, a large cow-calf operation and feeder near Raymond.

Maria Ceballos Betancourt is an assistant professor in beef cattle welfare and behaviour at the W.A. Ranches at the U of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine. Her mentors are well-known veterinarian and feedlot consultant Joyce Van Donkersgoed and Jake Bueckert, managing owner of Driland Feeders near Warner.

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Glenn Cheater

Glenn Cheater is a veteran journalist who has covered agriculture for more than two decades. His mission is to showcase the ideas, passions, and stories of Alberta farmers and ranchers.

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